A recent study published in the June 2011 issue of The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) found that higher levels of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) in the body are associated with increased odds of having experienced menopause.
PFCs are man-made chemicals used in a varity of household products including food containers, clothing, furniture, carpets, paints, firefighting foam, and photographic emulsifiers. Their broad use has resulted in widespread dissemination in water, air, soil, plant life, animals and humans, even in remote parts of the world. A probability sample of U.S. adults, found measurable concentrations of PFCs in 98 percent of the participants tested.
Study authors speculate that PFCs might have a toxic effect on follicles, mimic estrogen properties, suppress pituitary release of luteinizing hormone or follicle-stimulating hormone, or influence the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus. PFCs are known to have multiple adverse health outcomes including increased cardiovascular risk and impairment of the immune system.
In this study of 25,957 women aged 18 to 65 years, researchers ascertained menopausal status of participants and then measured their serum concentration levels of PFCs and estradiol. They found that there was an association between PFC exposure, decreased estradiol and early menopause in women over age 42. There was also an inverse association between PFC levels and estradiol in women of child bearing age but this association was not statistically significant.
Because of the study design, researchers couldn’t determine whether decreases in estradiol from PFC exposure during childbearing years explain the greater likelihood of menopause, and they could not independently confirm the survey data used in the study or ascertain the exact age of onset of menopause.
online version of the study here: http://www.endocrinetoday.com/view.aspx?rid=81984